PASADENA, Calif., March 4 (UPI) -- NASA says its Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter -- now ending its fourth year of operation -- has surpassed a data-volume milestone of 100 terabits.
The space agency said that amount of data constitutes more than three times the amount of data from all other deep-space missions combined -- not just the ones to Mars, but every mission that has ever flown past the orbit of Earth's moon.
The spacecraft entered orbit around Mars on March 10, 2006, following an Aug. 12, 2005, launch from Florida.
With a dish antenna 10 feet in diameter, NASA said the spacecraft pours data Earthward at up to 6 megabits per second from its three cameras, spectrometer, ground-penetrating radar and atmosphere sounder.
"The capability to return enormous volumes of data enables these instruments to view Mars at unprecedented spatial resolutions," NASA said. "Half the planet has been covered at 20 feet per pixel, and nearly 1 percent of the planet has been observed at about 1-foot per pixel, sharp enough to discern objects the size of a desk."
The project is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.